The Domestic Soundscape of the Mercato Centrale


Written by: Petia Stoykova
LdM Interior Design major



Sound; a neglected feature that is rarely considered in the design of a space. Our sonic perception of the world and the area that we are in helps confirm our presence, which is necessary for self-relation as well as spatial awareness.


When working in the LdM Interior Design studios, I constantly pay attention to the new elements hanging around the studio; I had noticed a poster that informed me of a seminar about “Domestic Soundscapes” in the upcoming days! SAM_4057I knew about landscapes, cityscapes, even townscapes, but not soundscapes! I decided to attend this seminar held by architect and researcher, Antonella Radicchi, where we paid attention to the soundscape of the interiors of the city in order to develop a sound map.


This map will not focus on the technical description of the sounds of the city, but rather gives a better idea of the place itself with information such as recordings and pictures. We discovered that spaces are highly impacted by sound; in the medieval city there was a perfect balance between the acoustics and the built environment. With the rise of the industrial revolution, new technologies were created that influenced the loss of sensitivity. The locomotives, railroads, and cars all changed the way we hear and perceive our environment. Many places also have sonic walls with a constant fake sonic environment created by ambient music, which in a way can alter our presence in the world. Through a sound walk to the Mercato Centrale we were encouraged to pay attention to the details of sound and how they create different environments.


As we walked from Piazza San Lorenzo and entered into the outdoor market surrounding the Mercato, there was a shift in sonic atmosphere. The ambient construction and faint noise from the SAM_4059piazza changed to energetic and almost hectic sounds from the obnoxious venders and the observers just trying to pass through the market. Once inside the Mercato, when moving from one of the side entrances towards different food stations around the perimeter of the first floor, we recorded the nonstop motion and shuffling of the chefs cutting meat, the clanging of plates, and the constant cash register opening and closing. SAM_4065There is always something going on and the rhythm of the motion of the people is emphasized in the sonic rhythm of the market.


The interior soundscape of the Mercato Centrale has an assortment of sounds that are associated with this space. This key feature that cannot be seen considerably impacts the market. On November 28th, Antonella Radicchi is presenting the map consisting of the sounds and pictures we took in order to emphasize the significance of sound in a domestic environment. I’m very excited to see how the collection of our sounds will represent the identity of the market!